Sharjah Municipality is building a new generation information technology capability that will pave the way for 'e-government' services by 2001. The first phase of the project is already underway, and involves the migration of some 350 computer users around the Emirate to a new, integrated, system which combines desktop productivity software with messaging and Internet capabilities.
The project is currently underway, with the installation of the Microsoft Outlook messaging system. The next phase of the product will see the Municipality extending its collaborative capabilities, upgrading its servers to Microsoft Windows 2000 and deploying a multiple domain structure based on Microsoft Internet Information Server.
Based on this platform, the Municipality will be building an Internet capability, allowing it to publish information for the public on Municipality procedures, policies and services. An intranet is now being deployed, allowing staff access to the resources of all departments, and allowing the fast exchange of documents and other information.
"At this stage, we will have a website for public information, but we are also moving quickly to build more interactive capabilities into our Internet presence, including payments and other procedures which are handled today on a 'face to face' basis," said Ali Al Rasheed, head of Information Technology Center at the Municipality.
The Municipality has a wide area network (WAN), which links together some 18 municipal departments, including facilities in Khor Fakkan, Kalba, Dibba and Dhaid. As well as building new access to government for people residing in Sharjah itself, the new messaging platform is already improving services and response times for residents of the outlying districts of Sharjah.
“E-government means that other government departments will be working alongside the municipality, merging systems so that every department has access to its peers, and so that the public has access to every part of government over the Internet. This is what we are moving towards by building these important standardized platforms today," commented Al Rasheed.
Microsoft opened its Dubai-based Middle East headquarters office in 1991, since then subsidiaries have opened in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Microsoft GEM is responsible for the company's business in Pakistan, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus and Malta. In 1999, Microsoft opened offices in Lebanon, Kuwait and Pakistan. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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